UPDATE 3/3/23 – Cummings has been sentenced under a plea agreement to seven years in prison on a reduced charge of stealing. Judge Jerry Harmison suspended execution of the sentence and gave her five years of supervised probation.
On a second count of assault, she was sentenced to 45 days in jail, also suspended, and assigned to two years on probation and parole.
Original article, published Jan. 12:
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Springfield woman was arrested for allegedly telling her dog to attack people while she stole cartons of cigarettes from a local gas station.
Billie Jean Cummings, 34, of Springfield, was arrested on Jan. 6 and formally charged with a felony count of first-degree robbery and three misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree assault.
Court documents for Cummings’ case show that Springfield Police Department officers were called to a South Scenic Avenue gas station to respond to a report of an assault. When the officer who wrote the probable cause statement arrived on the scene, they saw Cummings pushing and kicking officers trying to arrest her.
Nearby, another officer tried to control her dog while Cummings ordered the dog to attack them. When the dog was put into the back of a police car, Cummings threatened the officers and ordered them to shoot her, all while trying to kick and bite them.
Before the police were called, the assistant manager of the gas station said they saw Cummings enter the store with her dog. The manager saw Cummings enter a restricted area where the station’s inventory of cigarettes was kept. The manager followed Cummings and confronted her.
Cummings was grabbing cartons of cigarettes, according to the manager’s account of what happened. The manager tried to take the cartons only to have Cummings rip them open so she could take packs out of them.
When the manager tried to stop her, Cummings allegedly punched her in the face. The manager pushed Cummings back and ordered her to leave. Then Cummings’ dog got involved, scratching the manager and biting her on the arm.
A witness tried to get involved to help the manager. Cummings began to fight her as well. The witness threw Cummings into a display stand by the hair, but Cummings continued the assault. The dog began attacking the witness as well.
Officers were eventually called. When they first arrived, they found Cummings in a ditch on the side of the road. When asked if she took some kind of controlled substance, Cummings said she had but would not elaborate. Cummings continued to be uncooperative and told the officer to shoot her and her dog.
Cummings has not yet been scheduled for a court appearance. This article will be updated as she progresses through her case.